The last week of my life has been much like a sprint of fun, festivities, social gatherings, visitors, dinners, holiday parties, very little sleep, lack of running and virtually no time to get ready to fly south for the winter. I felt as if I needed to soak up as much NYC holiday season as possible before leaving it.

That being said, along with my track record, missing my flight today was not out of the realm of possibility. In an honest effort to prevent this from happening, my attempt to pack at 1am after getting in from an open bar event was only slightly helpful. Going from the piercing cold of New York’s wind chill to the moody Florida weather where you can wear Uggs one day and a swimsuit the next, does not make for the easiest packing party.

It must have been the rush, adrenaline, and the reality that my plane wouldn’t wait for me to take off that put me in gear when I woke up to see the train wreck of an attempt I made last night.
Moving in double time also distracted the sad feeling that came over me once I walked out of my door and pressed the down button on the elevator. As I was standing there with my over- packed suitcase and unnecessary carry-on, a sinking feeling in my stomach informed me that I was really going to miss this place for 10 days, not to mention figuring out how to carry on for such a long period of time without Melanie and Chloe.

This is far from saying that I’m not so excited and anxious to get to Florida and see my Moma, gossip with Roxann, use Skylar’s makeup and accessories, eat bowls of Daddy’s salsa, run on dirt roads, and hangout with Rusti and the boys.  It just confirms something that I’ve always suspected, I am in the right place, doing the right thing.

I may have had to sit on my suitcase while it was zipped, had an emotional awakening, and guiltily rushed the bartista at Starbucks, but I finally fell in a cab to barely make it to LGA, only to realize I didn’t have my credit card and failed to check-in or my bag prior to this.

The stress began to sink in, knowing that I had to go through this process in the long lines because I only had cash. Self check-out would not be saving me on this one and waiting in the actual check-in line would mean that I’d still be sitting in New York.   So, like in all times of desperation, I had to use it- the southern charm.

Today’s speciality was the sad girl who lost her purse last night with all of  her cards in it, completely helpless and running late because of all this stress. What other option would a nice airport attendant have other than to take me to special services for a speedy check-in? Long story short, I had time to spare before boarding. Then I sat beside a chatty NYC writer who I told road trip stories with. I have to admit, this was one of the smoothest travels I’ve had.

I am approaching the finish line of this trip, I’m exited to check out of the crazy life for a while and sit on the front pourch swing .  These 10 days will be over before I know it.

The holidays are about giving, caring, and of course, Fashion! What better way to combine all of these elements than a Fashion Show for charity benefit?

On Monday, December 13 from 7-10 pm, 18 fashion and lifestyle bloggers will be ripping the runway for a good cause. “Bloggers Soiree Presents: Fashion Is Never Bottomless” charity benefit for Bottomless Closet NYC. Bottomless Closet is a non-profit organization providing clothing, resume writing services, workshops, financial management, and professional development services to disadvantaged women in New York City. 75% of the proceeds will be donated to the charity.

Hosted by Desiree Frieson of DesireeFrieson.com with co-host RedRoverStyle.com and supporting partner HerJourneyMag.com, the night is sure to be a fun filled with fun, fashion, live music and charity.

This epic event will be held at Soiree Nightclub 199 Bowery between Spring and Rivington Street and you can purchase tickets at: http://bottomlessclosetgala.eventbrite.com/

Sponsors include TouchOfFabulous.com, Social Exposure Media, Girls in Tech, MySkin Inc, Urban Pearl Public Relations, The Independent Handbag Designer Awards, DrJays.com, Glaceau Vitamin Water, GoodGirlPR and SocialFashion.

Events like this are great around the holidays. It gives you the chance to socialize, be merry, dress up, and give back to those less fortunate than yourself. I hope that you come out for the festtivities– Oh, and I forgot to mention…. I happen to be one of the bloggers that will be hitting the runway.  I am thrilled to be modeling for a fabulous designer, Viva Aviva, who is not only remarkably talented, but a genuine and awesome person.

 

SEE YOU THERE!!

It seems like just last week that Melanie sent me a text trying to find out where I had strayed off to and my response was “Upper easy… COME”. That was a typo that happen nearly three months ago and from that point on, we didn’t live on the Upper East Side, it was forever named The Upper Easy. And now, just 2 days ago, after months of planning to move to the super cool, ultra trendy Lower East Side… We said goodbye to the Upper Easy.

To be honest, it really wasn’t easy to say goodbye– mostly because finding an apartment that we wanted, where we wanted, and in our budget seemed like a mission that would never be accomplished. The first round of searching started in early October when we thought our lease ended November 30, and things weren’t looking too shinny. Every apartment that we found in the LES was 2 tiny bedrooms, a mini fridge, and a water bucket to wash your face and hands and we were worried that we were in crunch time, until a light bulb went off in Mel’s head and she realized that our UES lease ended November 30, rather than October 30. Buying ourselves another month of searching, we put it off longer- only to get into the exact same pickle a few weeks later. 

Wanting to really live out the “Friends” dream, minus the coffee shop, Mel and I teamed up with Nickerson and O’Hara in search for a big loft that we could convert ourselves, which resulted in spending two solid weekends of looking at apartments that wouldn’t work out. When we finally thought we found a loft that could work, we jumped right into the celebration at an Essex brunch that ended up being a celebration of life rather than a celebration of finding a new home, because after a Sunday of responsible thinking, too many factors ruled that one out.

Things started getting serious, it was getting cold, we had no lead on an apartment and living on the street terrified me for so many more reasons other than just seeing American Psycho. Because of our lack of time, the ideal apartment in the LES that we had created in our mind months ago was fading quickly when we were taking every lunch break at work to run to high areas of midtown to look at apartments.

It had almost become accepted that we were going to just be settling for an apartment, until last Wednesday, a little birdie put a posting on Craigslist that I went to see alone, because Mel already used her lunch break. I jumped on the F train, ran like a fool and right when I walked in, I knew that I was standing in our new apartment!

I knew that I did not even have to consult with Melanie before giving my word that we were taking it and told them not to show it to anyone else. I was still walking around the apartment with the broker and the landlord when Melanie emailed them her application and bam bam bam– we got it all in. It was the fasted process she and I have ever been in and then turned into an ugly 2 day fight with other applicants that wanted it equally as bad as we did.

The difference was: We brought the big guns, southern charm…and most importantly, we agreed to take it 10 days before the lease actually started. After what seemed like forever of waiting and battling and chewing off all of our finger nails, we got the apartment!!! I was on 6th Ave when my broker confirmed that it was mine and I looked like a child excited to see the castle at Disney World for the first time running up the street. Good thing I am in New York City and no one pays attention to anyone else.

I had no idea how many years it takes off your life trying to find an apartment in NYC, especially an apartment that is exactly what you want.

So, after sleepless nights, bloody fingers, missing the Florida State game in Maryland, missing way too much time at work, packing at the very last minute because our movers showed up 2 hours early and being completely broke… It is very very safe to say that it was not so easy to say goodbye to the Upper Easy.

However, I am officially home!

Allow me to lay out dates for clarity:  Monday, October 11 was a beautiful sunny day in Central Park. I remember the date and weather distinctly because it was the day that I took my embarrassing and lifestyle threatening spill on the pavement while running.  Wearing a tank top and shorts was not the best protection from the asphalt, however that is direct indication to my memory that it was a hot day. The next day, Tuesday October 12, against my better judgement, I ran again, unknowingly on a damaged foot and worsened the situation so much that it was my last time running until this past Saturday. Using my limited math skills now… That is 24 days. One week of it limping, 2 weeks of crutches and a boot, and several days of prideful behavior of going without any assistance. All of that being said, I am back, but definitely not in a tank top and shorts. Where did the cold come from so quickly?

I woke up Saturday morning in Long Island and decided that since I made it through a dance party at Side Bar a few days prior with no regretful pain the following day, it was time to give my Asics some love and attention. After bundling in Under Armour, long sleeve shirt, zipped-up thermal North Face with hood tightened snuggly, and topped with FSU windbreaker (it was game day), I set out for my come back.  I am so happy to say that I experienced no pain in my foot and I am convinced that I am healed, however I don’t understand the dramatic change in temperature in the amount of time since my last run.

What runners in New York consider to be perfect fall weather, which is now, is what I am used to running in during the coldest times of Florida weather. I can’t complain too much considering how beautiful it is during this time of the year.

I guess we can’t have it all. Most things New York come to me pretty easily. I have to say that I have adapted well and quickly to everything this city has threw at me, but I think I have found what will be my biggest adjustment: Becoming a year round NYC Runner!

If you are a blogger with at least a handful of loyal readers and the amount of time since your last post secures you a spot in the overdue zone, then you are familiar with the same reoccurring questions and comments I’ve received lately….”There are no recent blogs! What has happened to you?” Then you have to formulate the comeback that is like the excuse you give to your preacher after missing Sunday morning service for the past 5 years.

Let me use this time to say that I have not lost my new to New York spunk quite yet, I still find myself in unusual situations and experiences that are certainly notable. Two weeks ago I took a very dramatic spill while running in the park, spent 9 valuable hours of my Friday at Bellevue Emergency room, where I saw two doctors, went through the longest process of x-rays, witnessed a trauma case of a patient brought in by the ‘authorities’, lost all form of communication with the world when my phone died, and nearly my mind. I was then wrapped, booted, given crutches and sent out into the blood sucking world of New York City, which is how it is viewed through the eyes of an individual without two feet. What happened the following time that I was trying to transport myself around this city on crutches is left to your imagination.

Now, to inform those of you (my handful of people) who are interested, as to what has been going on: Good things. Very Good Things! SkillSlate released the closing of its first round of institutional capital of $1.1 million in funding, co-led by Canaan Partners and First Round Capital, along with participation from a number of prominent New York angel investors. In the past few weeks, we have  re-launched the site with 3,500 service providers in 10 service categories throughout the New York City area. The exciting part is that we will use this round of funding for technology development to expand our service category breadth and depth. 

While this is all exciting, it is also more work, which in this case is STILL exciting! I can’t say that I envisioned myself as the ‘grown-up’ who loved their job so much that it didn’t feel like work. First of all, it sounded so cliché, and second of all, I never saw myself as a ‘grown-up’.  But I guess that’s the beauty of a startup, you truly have to love and believe in what you are doing (and still play with nerf guns). Working at a startup was the best thing that I could have feel into upon my move to NYC, I just got so lucky to be at such an awesome organization. If I were working at a large firm, I couldn’t imagine having the same sense of happiness and excitement for my company that I do with SkillSlate and our recent development.

I am so proud to share the success of SkillSlate with everyone and see us featured in The New York Times and Venture Beat, and read about our funding in news like Vator.tv.   Along with the great media attention, I love the blogs about how we personally serve the folks in New York, such as,  SneakerheadVC and McBrooklyn.

Every single team member has been working so hard in preparation to for the launch and funding announcement. Working with such an amazing team makes all the difference in the world when you spend so much of your time together. Check out this great article written about Bartek: An Analyst Stops Analyzing and Starts a Startup.

So, for all of my followers that are residents of NY, take the opportunity to use SkillSlate for your moving, handymen, dog walking, and whatever other needs you may have.  I’ve read great reviews about this personal trainer, for those  of my friends who have mentioned trying to find a good one in the city.

And to my friends and family back in Florida, sorry for the lack of blogging, but at least you see that my absence is for good cause. Now that I have that justification out of the way, I  have to think about what to tell my preacher at church!

If  ‘The Situation’ ever decides that  life on MTV is not for him or if he shines on Dancing with the Stars and decides he no longer wants to live with a bunch of train wrecks on a TV show in Jersey and declares that he is just going to be Mike Sorrentino , “The Situation” will need to be passed on. I am not saying that I have anything in common with the fist pumper, and I don’t have my own iPhone App. However, I can argue that I get myself into  situations a little more complex than realizing he brought home a girl with an adams apple.

All of that being said, we can address that I had less than an ordinary Friday. Yes, I am now sitting in on a Friday night eating miso soup and sashimi salad, but when else, other than my nights of babysitting would I have time for blogging?

Today started great. I attended BizTechDay2010, listened to some very inspiring speakers, networked with several interesting people and acquired lots of swag (gifts from the conference). When I finally rushed out of there to catch my 5:33pm train to Long Island my mind decided to take a nap and I went to Grand Central to get on the train rather than Penn Station, which would present itself as my first problem- but being me, I RAN to Penn Station and luckily the train was delayed 15 minutes. Jumped on, excited as ever for my never- ending luck and began transcribing my notes from the conference into a readable format in my email. Again, not paying attention, I transfer to the Locust MANOR train rather than the train to Locust VALLEY. And once I arrived I clearly saw the difference.

The first thing I saw when I got off the train was an Obama Deli. Being that I was desperate to find an outlet to charge my phone and figure out what the hell I should do, I walk into the democratic, run down deli (joke). The guys were nice to me, one asked all about my iPhone4, the other could not speak or hear. They let me plug my phone in and just stand around. Then the man who was unable to speak started writing to me on the back of a cigarette cart. He told me his name, Essue, and many other things that I could not understand, being that much of it was in Spanish. After a little while of this communication back and forth, he asked if I wanted to have a seat in the back. There he arranged a nice comfortable chair of eggcarts. As I sat, waiting for the train to come back through to get me back into the city, which was an hour, I charged my phone. At this point, I felt like it was a funny story. Then came the alteration in my experience. A group of  undeniably shady guys came in to order sandwiches, they drank sodas and tried to put them back without paying and when Essue confronted them,  their response was “I don’t know what you are talking about. And you don’t want anyone to get hurt, do you?” From that point, Essue somewhat protected me sitting in the corner. He stayed walking around the store, in front of where I was sitting until I left and went back to the so-called train station. The guys that worked there were truly sweet, offered me drinks, food, and at that time, shelter.

Once I got back on the train, I took it to Jamaica station and a driver, Bobby,  picked me up to drive me out to the cottage in Long Island. It was clear that I could not handle any more public transportation. I’ve also realized that I have to stop being so chatty with drivers because they become comfortable with me and I discover how creepy they really are. Bobby, for example, asked me if I had a boyfriend and if I go to strip clubs in the city. Hello Uncomfortable!

During my visit at the Obama Deli when things got a bit nervous, I was using the video on my phone that I wish I could upload to bring everyone into the moment that I was experiencing: Small little white girl in business clothes and a weekend bag, sitting in the back of the deli charging her phone. It was a situation.

I finally made it to Long Island, ordered sushi, the kids are sleeping, I get to blog and relax. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city. I just wish it wasn’t always such a situation to do so!

Oh, about what I was saying earlier…. I could take ‘The Situation’ if I wanted, afterall he did lose his lawsuit to trademark it! http://www.realstylenetwork.com/index.php/celebrities/2010/09/the-situation-cant-trademark-his-name/

So far you know that I am living in New York City, I share tight quarters with Melanie, I am in a very competitive workout NTMT challenge that has slowly been losing tallies, I love all-day brunches, I make crazy protein oatmeal creations and I am going to to need cosmetic surgery on my fingers within a matter of months if my anxiety does not lessen.

What you don’t know is what I do with the majority and priority of my time and attention. I am working for an awesome startup company called SkillSlate.

SkillSlate empowers the 16mm+ individual service providers in the US to market their services directly to consumers.  A SkillSlate profile provides detailed professional and personal information including pictures, fees, and reviews, all with the aim of not only showingwhat the person does, but who the person is.  SkillSlate puts these profiles together into a searchable, sortable directory where consumers can find service providers that fit their specific needs.

Now, to explain it in relate-able terms:

I fell in love with this vision 3 months ago when I was in NY, interviewing for jobs, mostly because of the enthusiast vibe and their desire to make NYC a better place for small local businesses and the consumers of New York.  I grew up in an area where we did not hire large, faceless companies for services. We had the advantage of living in a small town and knowing Joe, The Locksmith down the road, who would not only perform the services for a fraction of the price that a large company would charge, but was also held accountable for his work. Solid relationships are established and you have a much more pleasant experience when you hire trusted individuals that you know.

That may be one of the only advantages of living in a small town, because in a city as populated as NY, finding local services that you trust presents itself as a challenge. Sure, there is Craigslist, but it is a very unreliable source, and how do you know you are going to find a trust worthy, quality person? This is the problem that SkillSlate solves with the service providers detailed profiles, it tells consumers everything they need to know about the people that they are allowing into their home.

Also, consumers have the ease of going through our comprehensive directory to find the perfect match that fits their budget, need and personal requirements.  Everyone wins!

As for now I am plugging away with back-end public relations details, our site is in the redesign process, but look for big things in the very near future from SkillSlate. I am very excited to be apart of something so great and only getting better!

“Local Services. Local People.”